At the women's march in Mexico City, a number of women were carrying their children, others blowtorches, hammers, and bats ready for a confrontation they anticipated that would force the nation to deal with rampant brutality to antagonize women. The International Women's Day protest was fueled by hatred at President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He has backed a politician accused by several women of rape in Mexico, which suffers among the world's worst rates of gender violence.
International Women's Day in Mexico City
Fencing erected to shield Mexico's National Palace prior to a planned march to mark International Women's Day has been turned into a memorial. The names of hundreds of victims of femicides, or murders of women due to their gender, have been drawn on the metal fencing.
Despite a dispute within the governing party over the issue, Obrador has supported the politician prior to the June elections. The demonstrators gathered around the national palace -- Obrador's residence and the government seat, reported Irish Times.
According to Irma Quesada, "I'm here so my voice is heard, so justice is done. Yesterday it was my daughter. Tomorrow it could be another girl," reported Reuters.
Obrador tried to focus his attention on Monday on a large number of women in his cabinet instead of a day of demonstrations over the fact he has declined to break with a governorship candidate accused of rape. A progressive who cites his large record of social struggle and preaches that "the poor come first," he is also a social conservative who leaves abortion largely to state legislation and states the family is the center of society.
Quesada remarked her 12-year-old daughter remains to be recovering in hospital after being raped and stabbed in the face the previous week by a 45-year-old man. He was arrested, but authorities have warned he may not stay in prison due to a lack of evidence, reported US News.
Police officials and activists have clashed in Mexico City at the protest. Officers forced back demonstrators with riot shields and tear gas in the Zócalo, the capital's main square.
Police clashed with thousands of feminist activists protesting for an end to what they indicate is a crisis of violence against women. Protesters defaced city office buildings and used hammers and crowbars to tear down parts of a 12-foot-tall steel barrier erected surrounding the National Palace. Their ire was targeted on a steel fence that had towered to shield the construction from being overrun. Women who donned black balaclavas pulled down elements of the barricade because police officials fired volleys of flash-bang grenades into the cluster, provoking a number of small stampedes.
According to Mexico City's security branch, at least 62 police and 19 civilians were injured by Monday. While Obrador has portrayed his presidency as part of a populist movement to promote the marginalized in Mexico, women activists stated he has, in fact, been ignoring the needs of half the population.